Smart learning for gait physiotherapy – a standardized tool for health higher education in Europe

The project aims to meet the growing needs in the field of gait physiotherapy, which result from the occurrence of three major factors:

  1. Unhealthy, including sedentary, lifestyles and the so-called Kinesiophobia, that is the fear of pain due to movement in the case of painful conditions.
  2. Ageing society. Age is a factor that increases the risk of gait dysfunction as slower gait or increased gait variability. These changes and the loss of coordination additionally exacerbated by visual disturbances, increase the risk of falls, which may consequently lead to serious injuries in elderly people.
  3. A large number and variety of diseases that cause abnormal gait both in children and in adults, requiring intensive gait rehabilitation performed by skilled therapists.

In children, many developmental disorders affect walking function and require disease-specific therapy programs, such as tiptoe, asymmetric gait, wide-base gait; childhood neuromuscular diseases, such as cerebral palsy, progressive muscular dystrophy DMP; childhood orthopedic and neurological diseases, such as damage to peripheral nerves, craniocerebral injuries, foot and lower limb deformities. In turn, in adults, gait rehabilitation is crucial in diseases such as stroke, diseases of the extrapyramidal system, demyelinating diseases, spinal injuries, labyrinth diseases, orthopedic diseases, such as arthritis, inflammatory diseases of the joints; and other diseases such as limb arteriosclerosis and diabetic foot.  

The mentioned causes of increasing need of gait-focused physical therapy are common throughout the European Union. At the same time, EU countries lack European standards of professionalization of the physiotherapist professionals, necessary to ensure everywhere the same levels of safety and high-quality therapy, and there are neither harmonized guidelines nor standards in this regard. Moreover, there are no publicly available and standardized teaching materials on gait physiotherapy.

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